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Gaston Gerard Poulin
323rd Bomb Group, 453rd Bomb Squadron

T-Sgt. Gaston Gerard "Frenchy" Poulin. He was born in St. Joseph de Beauce, Quebec Province, Canada, and his family moved to Skowhegan, Maine when he was very young. He went to high school in Quebec Province, becoming fully bilingual, and playing hockey and other sports. He turned down an opportunity to try out for the Boston Bruins hockey team in order to join the USAAF in October 1941. He was trained at Lowry Field as an armorer. Then at MacDill Field in the summer of 1942, he volunteered to become a gunner and trained at Tyndall Field, Florida. He became a member of the 323rd Bomb Group, 453rd Bomb Squadron flight echelon, and flew to the ETO through the southern route with Captain Travis in the spring of '43.

He participated in the first 323rd mission to the Abbeyville Marshalling Yards on July 17th. In late '43, he was almost court-martialed for sneaking his brother, Joseph Guy Poulin on board a B26 as a tail-gunner. Joseph was a B17 ball turret gunner at the time. As you may imagine, they had more than a few high-spirited discussions on the relative merits of the two airplanes, the B17 and the B26. After flying 50 missions, Gus came home on furlough in May 1944. Returning to duty, he was wounded when a piece of flak pierced his helmet in August. When Paris was liberated, he was sent to the French underground as an interpreter to recover a downed airman. After recuperation, he continued to fly until November 19th, having flown 71 missions, usually as a top turret armorer/gunner.

Gus served in several different planes including 41-34708 VT-J "Miss Safartus Rickenschicker", and 41-31959 VT-S Miss Safartus Rickenschicker 2nd, piloted by A. W. Satterwhite with bombardier A. J. Baker. Later, he flew in 41-34853 VT-R "Toid Boid", piloted by S. M. Foster, with copilot M. MacSound, and bombardier E. E. Larkin. On March 26th, 1944, the Foster crew probably had the day off, because the "Toid Boid" was taken out by a rookie crew (the Reese crew) on a maximum effort raid on Ijmuiden, Holland. They took a direct hit in the bomb bay and went down near Ijmuiden. After that, the Foster crew flew most of their missions in plane #41-31901 VT-A, possibly also called "Toid Boid". The gunners stayed together throughout the crew shifts. They were: radio/gunner C. J. Ketchum, engineer/gunner V. Rogers, and (later) engineer/gunner F. P. Dec. Gus was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters, and a Purple Heart.


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Gaston Gerard Poulin


Gaston Gerard Poulin


Toid Boid
Gaston Gerard Poulin is sitting in the jeep.

L-R: front row: F. P. Dec (engineer/tail gunner), E. E. Larkin (bombardier), G. G. Poulin (armorer/turret gunner), back row: C. J. Ketcham (radio/waist gunner), S. M. Foster (pilot), M. MacSound (copilot).


L-R: G. G. Poulin (armorer/turret gunner), C. J. Ketcham (radio/waist gunner), A. J. Baker (bombardier), A. W. Satterwhite (pilot), J. G. Fletcher (navigator), V. Rogers (engineer/tail gunner).


Toid Boid


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L-R: G. G. Poulin (armorer/turret gunner), C. J. Ketcham (radio/waist gunner), A. J. Baker (bombardier), A. W. Satterwhite (pilot), J. G. Fletcher (navigator), V. Rogers (engineer/tail gunner).


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